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Tshimologong upskills youth in gaming, animation

South African innovation hub, the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, is inviting youth to apply for learnerships, internships and entrepreneurial incubation skills development programmes in the local gaming and animation industries.

According to the University of Witwatersrand-owned hub, specialised skills offered through the wide-ranging initiative include coding, programming, game development, UX and app development.

As the global gaming industry's revenue soars to over $180 billion per year, young aspiring developers are establishing an entry point into this lucrative industry, it says.

Launched in 2021 and supported by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the French Institute of South Africa under the umbrella of Wits University, the programmes aim to strengthen the African creative industries’ ecosystem and solidify the continent’s position in the global market.

Emerging start-ups are equipped with the tools, training and support they need to thrive in the industry. Internship and learnership candidates will be offered an opportunity to work in an organisation within the digital creative space, and participate in training courses that will help build their skills and knowledge, says the hub.

Erika Denis, creative industries expert working with Expertise France at Tshimologong, says the primary driver of this value-adding initiative is the high youth unemployment rate in SA, which is currently at about 62%.

“As we enter another Youth Month, stakeholders in the economy should be encouraged to place greater focus on creating opportunities for youth to enter the creative industries, which are a powerful platform for behavioural change and fostering innovation and economic growth,” notes Denis.

“Tshimologong is committed to investing in the leading lights of the digital creative industry. This industry has significant growth potential, according to our research. Our programmes, created out of this research, aim to attract African youth, with a strong focus on women, who are ready to start their careers in the industry in Africa.”

The initiative helps start-ups establish themselves in the global market by providing them with the skills, knowledge and support needed to launch and grow their businesses, adds Denis.

According to Tshimologong, the programme has already notched up significant numbers. In 2022, 237 beneficiaries were assisted, of which 187 were youth and 103 were women.

While the African gaming industry is small, it is evolving with growing interest from international markets, notes the precinct.

Nicholas Nhundu, investment officer and Southern African creative and cultural industry reference point for AFD, adds: “Our commitment in South Africa should – especially during Youth Month – give youth access to the digital landscape, and empower them to use their new skillsets to make a name for themselves, locally and internationally.”

Youth with a keen interest in the digital creative world can apply for a place in the Innovation Hub’s various programmes.

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